Heartstoppingly tense, new film Boiling Point is a brilliantly immersive snapshot of a night in the kitchen at a trendy restaurant. Stephen Graham excels as harassed chef Andy, trying to keep it all together as the stress of the night piles up in excruciating ways. Filmed in a single take, this is an ambitious story, well told by director Brantini and his co-writer James Cummings.
Every character in the film is well-drawn, from the waitress late for work because of an audition, the hassled pot washer, the sous chefs, the head chefs (a fiery Ray Panthaki and a brilliant, frustrated Vinette Robinson) struggling to cope – and the diners themselves, intolerant rich racists, Instagrammers and romantic couples. Graham also has to deal with the attention of a food critic brought by his old business partner and would-be TV chef, a superbly slimy Jason Flemyng.
The cast is uniformly excellent and rich, each having their moment to shine as the camera spins off to follow their journey for a moment before hurtling back to the unfolding night’s service, whether it be Alice Feetham’s front-of-house manager wondering if she can cope, Gary Lamont’s waiter dealing with flirty Americans or Graham himself trying to ring his son after a swimming competition. Each moment feels well-earned, and Graham is magnificent and mesmerizing at its centre.
Uncomfortable at times and gripping, the stresses and strains of running a kitchen are highlighted with unflinching realism in Boiling Point, often tiny moments having a huge impact. Superb. Service, please!
Dir: Philip Baranti (15) (93 mins)
In cinemas from Fri 3 Dec
words KEIRON SELF
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